Woza case: Judge bars magistrate

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The Bulawayo High Court yesterday set aside a ruling by a magistrate who felt Women of Zimbabwe Arise (Woza) leader Jenni Williams, facing charges of theft and kidnapping, was feigning illness and ordered her detention saying a government doctor should examine her.

Williams is facing the charges together with her colleague Magodonga Mahlangu.

The magistrate, Godwin Sengweni, was barred from dealing with the theft and kidnapping case against the two activists until the outcome of their application for stay of prosecution filed last month.

Justice Misheck Cheda made the ruling after Williams approached the court on Monday following Sengweni’s ruling that he had reservations about Williams’ illness.
He ordered that she should be examined by a doctor at Mlondolozi Prison.

In his ruling, Justice Cheda also restored Williams’ original bail conditions and that she should present herself for a medical examination by the government within seven days.

Sengweni sent Williams to jail after an application made by her lawyers seeking to have the matter postponed because she was ill and could not properly follow court proceedings.

But Goodluck Katenaire, for the State, opposed the application on the grounds that Williams was feigning illness and her doctor’s report was “not genuine”.

The two Woza leaders are being accused of kidnapping an elderly woman in Njube and stealing a torch at a house in Nketa suburb.